From an Overpacker to a Carry-On Lover (If I Can Do It, So Can YOU!)
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Traveling doesn’t have to be complicated.
While I love to travel and frequently do, I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to come to my most recent revelation. Carry on luggage is the best way to go when packing up, heading to the airport, and traveling to a new place.
I was a notorious over-packer and always checked my bag (or bags!) before my flight – even when my trips were only a couple of days. 😬 Yes, I had a major issue with packing way too many clothes that took up space and never got worn.
On top of paying for the check bag fee, I always ran the risk of having to pay the extra cost if my bag weighed over the allotted amount. Not to mention the risk of having my bag lost in transit and having to wait a few days to receive it—or not receive it at all! 🤪
So… to be able to now say that I can pack clothing for a week in a little carry on bag, well – gets me a wee bit excited. If you’re interested, you can listen to me ramble about my excitement by clicking the audio button below.
After really thinking about the cost of checking bags and even the time it takes (especially at large airports that tend to have crazy lines), I started thinking about carrying on my luggage more and more. How could I minimize my packing and truly make this work? I researched the best carry-on luggage, and how I could nail down no longer being an over-packer.
I’m so stoked to have successfully completed carrying on my luggage a few times now – even for week-long trips!
It’s so freeing to not pack nearly as much as I used to and only have the appropriate pieces before a trip (pieces that I will actually wear!). Here are some of my favorite carry-on benefits along with tips and tricks of how I do it. And trust me, if I can do this, so can you! 🙌
1. No waiting before and after your flight.
Every time I get to the airport now with my carry on, I wave hello and goodbye to the check-in counter! It’s probably my favorite part about carrying on my luggage.
Not only do we all now have the ability to check-in for our flights online (or on the airline’s app) and get mobile boarding tickets right on our phones, but when you only have a carry-on, you have the luxury to just walk right past that super long line. It feels pretty amazing to be able to walk in the airport and literally go straight to security.
2. It saves you money.
Checking a bag these days can get pretty costly depending on what airline you’re flying with. However, most airlines will let you carry-on for free or for a lower-cost than checking!
Hip Tip: Check out these vacation budget hacks that will get you all the best deals on your next trip!
3. Forces you to not be an over-packer.
Plan your outfits! I literally used to just throw in my favorite clothes, not think about it at all, and bring so much stuff that I never even wore. Plus, I was spending more time, while on vacation, trying to figure out what to wear each day – not exactly how I want to spend my vacay time.
It’s so freeing to already have your outfits picked out for the trip.
I also really enjoy staying at Airbnbs that have a washer and dryer so I can do laundry while I’m away. This allows me to wear staple pieces two or three times during a trip if I need to! I highly recommend staying at a place with laundry as it makes it so much easier to pack way less.
Bringing travel-sized stuff for personal care items and using packing cubes are another huge space saver. And if you’re not too picky and are staying at a hotel (or possible a house that supplies these), you don’t even need to bring shampoo, conditioner, or soaps since they have all of that for you!
Also, when packing, keep in mind that to get through security at the airport – liquids, gels, and aerosols packed in carry-on luggage must follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule:
- 3.4 ounces or less per container
- 1 quart-size, clear, plastic, zip-top bag (all liquids must fit in the bag)
- 1 bag per passenger
Want more tips?! Check out these 11 simple travel packing tips from an ex-over-packer!
4. No lost luggage.
If you’ve ever experienced losing your luggage while on a trip, you know how terrible it is! The last thing anyone wants to do when getting to their destination is having to scramble to buy new clothes, personal care items, etc. Not to mention, it’s extremely costly until you get reimbursed (and that’s if you even get full reimbursement for your belongings).
If you opt to carry on instead, the only thing that can pose as a possible issue is if you forget to grab your bag when getting off the plane. When you’re not used to getting your bag from the overhead compartment, you could potentially lose it (which I have done before 🤪, but thankfully realized pretty quickly and was able to have someone get it off the plane for me!).
Here are my 2 current favorite travel items:
- IT Luggage 22″ Carry On – starting around $67.77
- Leke Sky Backpack – $29.99 – Check for a digital coupon to save you even more!
I love my IT luggage! They even claim to be the most light-weight luggage ever. I’m not totally sure if that’s 100% true or not, but this luggage really is super light-weight and it’s amazingly easy to maneuver around the airport, pushes so easy, and it fits in the over-head compartment perfectly!
I typically ditch my purse for any trip and carry my Leke Sky backpack with my wallet, laptop, snacks, etc… I use it all the time, even when I’m not traveling. It’s high-quality, it has tons of compartments, a laptop sleeve, and it’s just super affordable and cute! Between the two of these items, traveling is now so easy!
Hip Tip: Here are other highly-rated carry-on luggage options that we love.